Reading is an incredibly intimate and personal act. There are of course other, more obscene ‘intimate and personal’ acts that come to mind as well, like going a day without a couple of bowel movements or blowing your nose with reckless abandon into a dirty t-shirt. I digress. I relish in the time I am able to spend reading anything that’s not on a screen. Yes, you’ve guessed it, I have yet to be converted to e-books and perhaps this day will come, but for now, I find solace in the weight, feel and smell of books, and I can’t see that feeling of comfort ever going away, even if I opt to use an e-reader app someday.
As it is the time of year to make resolutions and embark on goals we set for ourselves, I find the act of making the resolution almost as important, if not more, than following through. One such goal for me, was to read more books, specifically. Happily drenched in the cinematic world, much of my extra time becomes devoted to watching films, not reading books. I want more balance, and thus the goal.
As my reading journey began, I soon realized the innate connection between reading books and eating. You don’t have to look very far to see the finely paired link between reading and eating when the tone of the book, the location, descriptions of eating, the act of snacking while reading, or binge reading and then making yourself a very satisfying meal after you fasted through four or five chapters, all make it very clear. It’s intoxicating to read a great book and be enveloped and I feel the same way about a great meal.
I had the lulu at the start of the year, and as an example of the tenacity in my heart–in my feverish state, sprawled out on the sofa snuggled deeply in my cozy–I vaguely remember saying to my husband, “could you do an online search for slang in reference to reading?” Although the search was a bust, my mind was racing to come up a great pairing of wit and words for what I now hope to be a new series on Connect a Bite, called Noshed in a Book.
Each post will speak to the book I recently finished along with a review and description of the book along with some food inspiration and a recipe.
Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” by Lena Dunham
A thoughtful collection of explicit, candid, and sometimes amorous essays. Each essay aims to express both the plight and luxury it is to live in Dunham’s shoes, but never apologetically. For this reason, I truly enjoyed the book. There were times, especially when I was feverish, when her necessity to amble on about how wonderful it was to be irresponsible and careless nearly made me woozy, but then I knew to set the book down and contemplate. And that’s what her essays made me do, contemplate. I ruminated over why her selfish attitude toward existence and success agitated me. I thought about how I could relate and how I couldn’t relate in the slightest. Finally, I thought about her bare honesty in reference to food, her dietary habits and struggles. Lena seems to have the same love/hate relationship with food that I do, and this endeared me all the more to her writing. She speaks about carefully documenting her meals and even has a few days excerpts from her food journal, which during the time of writing were top-secret. A few favorite quotes.
“A friend once told me that when you’ve been in AA, drinking is never fun again. And that’s how I feel about having seen a nutritionist–I will never again approach food in an unbridled, guilt-free way. And that’s okay, but I think of those college years as the time before I was expelled from Eden.”
“Because I was little. So Little. Even though my favorite foods were: Doritos. Steak. Sara Lee pound cake (preferably still half-frozen). Stouffer’s French bread pepperoni pizzas, my Irish nanny’s shepherd’s pie, and huge hunks of goose liver pâté, eaten with my bare hands as a snack.” “I wanted to taste it all.”
Lena was successful at passing on a nugget of wisdom or two and I am grateful to her. I have had many thoughts and took notes about different meals I could make, and considering Lena was once on a plant-based diet, I did contemplate making something more restrictive, but in the heart of indulging, which I think is the one of the messages I took away from this book, I have decided to make one of my favorite recipes, Shepherd’s Pie–recipe posted on one of my previous Cinema Cuisine posts. This is a salute to both her Irish nanny’s shepherd’s pie, and my Irish roots. A perfect match for the cold weather and the finale of this book. If you’re out there Lena, I’m sharing a square of this pie with you!
Join me in reading the next book on my list, Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis and we can chat along the way under the hashtag #noshedinabook And remember…bite responsibly!
How are you feeling? Do you feel like 2013 was productive and revealing in some way? Did you come closer to any big goals you set?
The first day of the year is a very special one, but also a day like any other. Yesterday I awoke early–as I often do–my love still snoozing, our kitty was calm and as time passed throughout the morning small beams of light creeped into our living room where I sat at our dining/craft table. I was in a quiet and harmonious state when an incredible urge to be creative came over me.
On the final day of 2013, I did what I like to call a cleanse, wherein I exercised my ability to purge our home of unnecessary items; clutter. This was just one final day, out of many days like this in 2013, where I felt the need to extract unused items from our house. My closest friend mentioned she had gone through these motions too and she said it helped to clear her mind, and that was a great way to put it. I must say, on the 31st I may have outdone myself because by the time I was done sorting, tossing, recycling, cleaning, and organizing I was exhausted.
Now we’re back to yesterday. With a cleansed home and mind I decided it was time to put to use some of my art supplies and move forward on two things I set as a goal for my winter vacation. One, use art supplies, two, begin my recipe book. I cleared off our table and took out all the necessary supplies. In my organizing frenzy on the 31st I came across many underutilized notebooks and I decided I would start there. Stacks of magazines, my recipes, glue, scissors and most importantly my mind were all sitting at the table, ready to go. Snip, snip, snip. After hours of cutting, gluing, precise placement and breaks to read and browse articles I had missed in the past, my very first recipe book was created. I couldn’t be more pleased.
Up to this point, every time I have a recipe idea, I scramble to find a piece of scrap paper, a notecard, anything so the culinary creation isn’t lost forever. Now, I have my book!
Yesterday I spent some time in my kitchen cleaning, preparing meals and resting while drinking a yummy tea creation I’ve made lately. I reveled in my accomplishment of moving forward in my life as a chef and lover of food and all that it does for us. It occurred to me while putting together my book that I spent much of the past year doubting. I’m not proud to say that. What I am proud to say is that I’m here, now, allowing myself the gift of trust.
My kitchen and my abilities in it and outside of it are something I should never doubt. I should feel stronger every day for the creations I introduce to the world and I hope only to improve with grace as time carries on in 2014 and beyond.
Yesterday, I didn’t just create a book I created a chance.
I hope this letter finds you well, world.
Much love and gratitude,
HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone! I’m here this morning to top off the final six of my 12 foods, lessons, concessions, thoughts and ideas of 2012. I’m a day late with this one, but here they are nonetheless! Tell me what yours are if you can think of any.
7. Soup: Hot, brothy, or even creamy soups…what more can I say. They ease digestion and help eliminate those pesky toxins whilst adding a savory treat to your palate. My favorite lately, a simple miso (I vary the miso type) with wakame or dulse and these big straw like rice noodles, so deeeelish. I was much more experimental in 2012 with soups, here’s hoping I make even more in 2013!
8. Squash: We have gone squash crazy this month, wherein I’ve prepared more dishes from squash than I thought possible. What is more, most thick skinned squashes have a much longer ‘shelf-life’ than most other fruits and veggies, thus they sustained us when we hadn’t yet gone grocery shopping. Best discovery, delicata squash. I prepared a dish wherein I sautéed delicata squash with a gluten-free pasta, chickpeas and greens…savory and delicious. This particular squash has a natural umami. Most adored squash, butternut…I could eat this EVERY day. Most fun squash, spaghetti! Most underrated squash, pumpkin.
Oats: Oh, what to say about Oats. :p I mention these, mostly because they have been a breakfast standard for most of 2012. We buy gluten-free whole rolled oats, and dress them up in all sorts of ways in the morning. I don’t know where my morning appetite would be without oats! Cool finding: Blended oats with all my ‘fixins’ is rather scrumptious and a welcome texture change.
The Farmers’ Market: Some of you may have previously read my post on why I like shopping at the farmers’ market, but regardless, I couldn’t leave the market off of my list because it has been a remarkable learning and growing experience for me. I’ve come to understand even more, a sense of community I don’t think I truly understood before. I’m getting to know some of the farmers and coming to understand their trade with more intimacy. I tried to grow a few things in 2012, and hope to do more this year. My weekend routine was not the same if I had to miss our market trip; thanks to SFC and everyone who has worked hard to keep these markets up and running. Eating local has changed my life in many ways.
Again, thanks to everyone who made writing this blog in 2012, more special than I imagined. With the multitude of blogs out there, if you’ve ever taken the time to read mine, I am truly appreciative.
And remember…bite responsibly!
Healthy and Happy New Year Vibes,
The year is only hours away from being just another recycled calendar so I thought it best to bestow upon the internet saturated world one more list of tops to help you consolidate your yearly conclusions. This will be a first for me, but what will follow are my top 12 (in no particular order) foods, food thoughts, conclusions, lessons and the like for the year 2012. Without further adieu…
Until 2013, I must depart. I hope the onset of the new year finds you happy, healing and well. Make sure to check-in tomorrow for the last 6! And remember…bite with love, responsibly!